“This is an important appointment at a crucial time for Australia’s economy,” Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said.
“Mr Barrett’s extensive experience in public policy will serve the Productivity Commission well as it works to improve flatlining productivity and drive economic growth.
“We need to do everything we can to lift Australia’s productivity and move towards a more modern and faster growing economy.
“Our universities are at the heart of this – producing the highly-skilled graduates who make our economy $185 billion bigger and generating the technological and social innovation that drives us forward through research and development.
“If we could lift investment in higher education research and development by just one per cent, we could lift productivity and increase the size of Australia’s economy by $24 billion over 10 years, but universities can’t keep doing more with less.
“We look forward to working with government, the Productivity Commission and industry to continue doing our bit to build a stronger and more prosperous future for all Australians.
“We would like to offer our sincere thanks to outgoing chair Michael Brennan.
“Universities have appreciated Mr Brennan’s willingness to engage deeply on fundamental issues across the whole of his five-year tenure.”